Semien’s grand slam lifts A’s past Giants

OAKLAND — Marcus Semien, the longest-tenured member of the A’s with Sonny Gray now a Yankee, said he was ready to lead his younger teammates by example with his play on the field.

If they can all follow the one he set on Monday night, the A’s are in pretty good shape for the future.

Semien blasted a 1-1 pitch from George Kontos over the left field wall for a grand slam in the sixth inning to put the A’s ahead 6-3 in an eventual 8-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of 38,391 fans at the Coliseum for the first game of the Bay Bridge Series.

It was Semien’s fourth home run of the season and his first grand slam with the A’s. The slam that sent A’s fans into hysteria was set up earlier in the inning after a pair of walks from Bruce Maxwell and Matt Joyce, and a pinch double by Rajai Davis off the left field wall that nearly left the yard.

Rookie Paul Blackburn surrendered a run in the first and two in the fourth, but he was able to limit the damage both times and appeared to be settling in. After facing the minimum for the next two innings, the Brentwood native ran into more trouble in the seventh.

Blackburn allowed a lead off double to Carlos Moncrief and a single to Gorkys Hernandez, with a fielder’s choice sandwiched in between to put runners on first and third with only one out. The single by Hernandez put Blackburn at 98 pitches and was enough to summon manager Bob Melvin from the dugout to make a change.

Daniel Coulombe came on in relief and made things a little tighter as he only recorded one out and allowed two runs to shrink the A’s lead to a run. In danger of a total meltdown, Liam Hendriks came on and struck out Buster Posey to strand runners on first and third and keep Oakland ahead 6-5.

Trailing 1-0 before they ever even got a chance to bat, the A’s wasted no time taking the lead. After Joyce led off with a walk, Semien and Jed Lowrie came up with back-to-back singles off Matt Cain to tie the score at 1-1. Khris Davis then drove in Semien with a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the A’s two runs in their first four at-bats and a 2-1 lead.

The A’s added a couple of insurance runs in the eighth on a two-run single by Ryon Healy.

Blake Treinen came on in the ninth inning and recorded the final three outs to earn his first save with the A’s.

NOTES

— In addition to the Sonny Gray trade, the A’s made another move on Monday.

Infielder Adam Rosales was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league pitcher Jefferson Mejia. Rosales, who has had multiple stints with the A’s, became a favorite in the clubhouse for his team-first mentality. For that reason, manager Bob Melvin said he would not be surprised if Rosales found his way back with the club in the future.

“He’s a versatile player and as team-type of player as anybody I’ve been around. You pinch hit for him and he’s high-fiving the guy that pinch hits for him,” Melvin said. “He’s all about the team and when he’s not playing he keeps himself prepared. We’ve had him here multiple times for that reason. He is a terrific clubhouse presence and we wish him the best.”

Chad Pinder rejoined the club off the disabled list and Melvin believes he could fill the role of super-utility man that was previously occupied by Rosales.

“Right now he’s a guy that can play anywhere, but we’ll see where he ends up,” Melvin said. “This is a guy who’s pretty productive. I’m sure he would love to settle into one spot and be an every day guy but it’s nice to have a guy that can play everywhere. There aren’t many guys that can do that.”

While Rosales did not receive much playing time over the past month, Melvin said he expects Pinder to find himself in the lineup a bit more often.

— Opening day starter Kendall Graveman will return to the starting rotation on Thursday at AT&T Park for the final game of the Bay Bridge Series. Graveman went 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts for the A’s this season before landing on the disable list with a strained shoulder.

— Although the A’s continued their trend of trading young stars for players that won’t be able to contribute until a few years from now, Melvin believes things are different this time around.

“I think this time, with a new stadium coming, the whole model changes,” Melvin said. “So I think that’s why this is taking place and I think there’s an actual timetable that they’re looking at to start keeping guys and get away from that. I think that will be welcome for everyone.”

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